The January health kick is in full swing. Gyms are full and there are sales on health foods and vitamins every where you look. After spending the last two months enjoying ourselves, letting it all go and taking in all the homemade mac-n-cheese we can handle over the holidays many of us are looking to reclaim some controls. We realize as yummy and fun as it was we need to curtail that back a bit and get back to making sure we don’t find ourselves permanently living in clothes that have stretchy waists, though very comfortable. The number one resolution people will set for the New Year is getting in shape after all.
But what does it actually mean to get in shape? For many it means losing a few pounds,getting our thighs to stop rubbing together when we walk and fitting into a smaller size. For others it means toning up and reclaiming energy, building strength and endurance. These are great goals to have but achieving them is one that presents the majority of us with a major challenge right out the gate.
We have been fooled by diet and “health” companies on what it takes to get healthy and that has left many of us worse off in the long run. Obesity is the 3rd largest cause of death in the United States and we continue to see this disease take over our health and that of our families more and more each day. So how do we make this year different?
I believe one of the foundations to improving our health, losing weight and getting more active comes down to some basic guidelines. One we have to be ready to make these changes either all at once or gradually but it’s going to be some work either way. That weight didn’t come on overnight so it’s going to take some time to find our way back. Secondly, we have to acknowledge our own condition and reason for wanting this change. We personally have to want it and let it be our motivator. If we’re losing weight to please someone else then I promise you it won’t work out with them or your weight loss. Lastly, we have to introduce the right support to help us get there.
These will be different for everyone and we should take the time to find the right setup that works best for us. There is not a one sized fits all or most when it comes to diet and exercise.
Vitamins and Supplements
Most vitamins and supplements don’t work. Not one bit. They are laden with preservatives, genetically modified materials and chemicals that your body cannot digest so they literally pass from mouth to the other end. When your body can’t break these things down or use them you are literally flushing your money down the commode. Not sure where you buy your vitamins and supplements but in general they can be pretty pricey so this is disturbing to think about not getting any value from them.
It is not that we don’t need vitamins and supplements because we desperately do. The fact is the average diet, even one that is high in fruits, veggies and good proteins, still lacks necessary elements we need in our diet. The number one reason for this is poor condition of our food system.
We process and man make so much food and ingredients that goes into our food that most us wouldn’t know real food if we had to compare it to what we eat every day. Even most of our real raw food is sprayed with stuff to keep it fresh longer! We need good quality vitamins and supplements to counteract that stuff in our food as well as give us what we we’re not getting out of our food.
The best way to know if your vitamins and supplements are up to this task is to look at the company producing it and the ingredients label. Because vitamins and supplements are considered natural medicines they are not directly regulated by the FDA and do not have to disclose everything that is in them. So if what you’re buying doesn’t have some information about ingredients, quality and purity, somewhere easy to find don’t buy it. The credible companies doing right by consumers will openly have this information available. It will be in plain language that you can easily recognize the ingredients and know what you’re buying.
I was once a person who took vitamins off and on, usually when I was on a health kick. It was a one day multi-vitamin that usually left me with an aftertaste or upset stomach so I’d stop taking it after a couple weeks. Then I’d go to retake it a few months later on yet another health kick and realize the bottle was expired. It took me a long time to try another vitamin thinking they were a complete waste of money namely because I wasn’t consistent in using them and they tasted bad.
Imagine my surprise when I tried high quality supplements and actually felt good with no nasty after taste! If your vitamin isn’t leaving you with some pep in your step and feeling good then it’s probably not working. That is a sure sign you need to try something else.
(to try what I take click here: dragonspitapothecary.com/llv) Here’s why I love it:
Money back promise if you don’t love them, even if you use the whole bottle
No upset stomach
Comes as a set so I don’t have dozens of individual bottles hanging around trying to remember what I took or didn’t100% natural
Trusted and reputable brand with published easy to find ingredients and data on the supplements
Convenient at your door delivery$2.65 per day so it’s even affordable
Has a children’s version that is also incredibly awesome and affordable
Shakes and Smoothies
January has to eventually become known as international protein shake and green smoothie month eventually. Shakes and smoothies are the go-to when you think about eating healthy and exercising. It also makes you look extremely cool to be taking your smoothie cup with you in the mornings, like you have this whole healthy eating thing in the bag.
Here’s my beef with these drinks. Most of them taste bad, are gritty and I don’t care what color it is making them can be a real pain in the butt every day. Not to mention the slimy stuff you then have to scrub off the cup later when you wash it. I personally don’t mind shakes and smoothies every now and again however some of them are pretty gross tasting and not at all filling. Green and healthy or not some of that is awful. Of course you’ll lose weight drinking it because you won’t drink it!
I have tried several brands and flavors as well as went on a spree of making my own but saw some recurring things that made me question how healthy some of these drinks actually were:
Some are very high in sugars and fats
Non-natural flavoring and ingredients
Before you pick up your next protein shake or smoothie canister please check the ingredients, even if you’re making it yourself. A good basic shake or smoothie should have at least fiber and protein as the top 2 ingredients. From there I would make sure it has whole food based ingredients that do support your health goals and they are low in sugars and fats. This is actually one of my favorite green smoothies that doesn’t taste like cardboard or something I would not at all eat. You can also mix in some Greek Yogurt to enjoy it as a creamy dessert in the evenings.
2 cups baby kale
2 cups frozen berries
1 carrot, banana or pineapple
2-3 cups water
1 drop doTERRA Wild Orange
Blend on high until smooth
Move Your Body
By far the biggest challenge for many of us in getting more healthy is starting an exercise regime. It can be hard to make time for it, feel like we can achieve it and not hurt afterwards as well as keeping motivated to keep at it.
We all know we need to move and exercise but doing something that fits our body and meets us where we are is not always easy. In our determination and push in early January we go fully in and easily overdo it. We get frustrated if there are not progress trends seen quickly and by mid-February the gyms are empty and back to the normal crowds. What I figured out in my own frustration and give up modes is it was partly because the exercises I was doing didn’t make me happy and I was thinking I had to do those only to be successful.
The truth is you have to find an exercise that interests you, moves your body and makes you feel accomplished from doing it. This is not to say you don’t sometimes have to do things you don’t like but as long as what you’re doing moves your body, gets your heart pumping, gives you some sense of fulfillment and uses your muscles then it’s right for you. From there the sky is the limit on possibilities.
Start easy and build up. When you are new or coming back to something you have to start small and easy. Build your confidence as much as you build you muscles. The biggest thing is just being consistent at it. I like to start out just taking walks with the dog. I like finding those spots in my day where I can step away from work and take a 20-30 minute walk. Thankfully, with working at home more these days our Golden Retriever Daisy gets to benefit too. Now, this is not to say that sometimes my work day doesn’t go back-to-back in meetings and work deadlines and I have to miss but knowing this is a treat for me and Daisy helps me find a way to get a walk in. See your workout as a treat, special self-care session, or something that you look forward. If it’s torture you won’t stick with it.
Where are you?
One of the best ways to begin charting your path to better health is with assessing where you are and what’s important to you. I have developed a Lifestyle & Wellness Questionnaire that will help you find those answers. Once you answer those questions I will give you a personal, customized report of tools that will help you on this journey. I recommend taking this questionnaire a couple times a year to see your progress and adjust where your focus needs to be. You can take the questionnaire and get your report for free right here: